KOLKATA/NEW DELHI: A day after West Bengal CM and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee told the media that she did not care if “someone aspiring for something else decides to go”, her four-time MLA and Bhatpara municipality chairman Arjun Singh defected to BJP on Thursday.

The North 24-Parganas strongman is the biggest catch for BJP in the run-up to the LS polls and his move may have a bearing on the Barrackpore constituency. BJP insiders said Singh might be the party’s candidate from the seat.

Singh gave several reasons for joining BJP, one of them being Banerjee’s stance on the Balakot airstrikes. “Her asking for details of the strikes and the casualty number astonished people. She should have congratulated PM Modi instead of getting into body politics. I have worked with her for 30 years and saw her becoming Bengal’s CM with the ‘Ma-Mati-Manush’ slogan. Now the three Ms stand for money, money and only money,” Singh said

The TMC leadership sniggered at Singh’s corruption allegations, saying the MLA faces criminal cases, including an attempt-to-murder charge.

After Mukul Roy, Singh is the most prominent among TMC-to-BJP defectors in terms of impact and muscle power. No other defector, including MPs Saumitra Khan and Anupam Hazra, took the risk of dumping the state’s ruling party while holding office (both are MPs). Singh has nursed the Barrackpore belt for 20 years, since fighting LS poll in 1999 (he lost to CPM’s Tarit Topdar).



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